Happy Neighbors are Good for You, Wealthy Ones are Not: Some Insights from a First Study of Well-Being in Mongolia

Global Economy & Development Working Paper, No.76, The Brookings Institution, August 2014

32 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2014

See all articles by Tuugi Chuluun

Tuugi Chuluun

Loyola University Maryland

Carol Graham

Brookings Institution - Center on Social and Economic Dynamics; University of Maryland

Sarandavaa Myanganbuu

Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Orkhon-Bulgan Provinces in Mongolia

Date Written: August 1, 2014

Abstract

We conducted the first extensive study of well-being in Mongolia, a country that has experienced a dramatic transition in both its economy and polity in recent decades. We found that most of the standard determinants of well-being were no different in Mongolia than they are for most countries in the world, with individual income, health, marital status and exercise all positively associated with life satisfaction; the same variables had positive but weaker correlations with our hedonic well-being measure. As in many other contexts, we found that, controlling for individual income, average community income was negatively correlated with life satisfaction, although not with hedonic well-being. This is not surprising, as comparison effects are more likely to influence overall life evaluations than they are daily (or weekly) moods and experience. In contrast, average community-level well-being — in both evaluative and hedonic dimensions — was positively associated with individual well-being. While being around wealthier people may generate envy among some, being around happier people has positive externalities (except, perhaps, for the very unhappy). Thus, at least in Mongolia, wealthier neighbors are not necessarily good for you, but happier ones surely are.

Keywords: Subjective well-being, Mongolia, community income, community well-being

JEL Classification: I31, D69

Suggested Citation

Chuluun, Tuugi and Graham, Carol and Myanganbuu, Sarandavaa, Happy Neighbors are Good for You, Wealthy Ones are Not: Some Insights from a First Study of Well-Being in Mongolia (August 1, 2014). Global Economy & Development Working Paper, No.76, The Brookings Institution, August 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2489516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2489516

Tuugi Chuluun (Contact Author)

Loyola University Maryland ( email )

4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210-2699
United States

Carol Graham

Brookings Institution - Center on Social and Economic Dynamics ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
(202) 797-6022 (Phone)
(202) 797-2968 (Fax)

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Sarandavaa Myanganbuu

Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Orkhon-Bulgan Provinces in Mongolia ( email )

Orkhon-Bulgan
Mongolia

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